A Light on the Corner
Sometimes the universe has a way with timing and coincidences that cannot be explained. We witness small happenings that don’t seem relevant when relaying them to someone else, and rarely do we have a witness nearby to collaborate the occurrence. I try to keep up with these customized messages from somewhere ‘out there’ when their arrival is so impressively synchronous and pertinent to my current situation or state of mind.
I’ve been a bit ‘off’ the last few
days weeks. It began with a very ungraceful, abrupt encounter with my head and a door which left a painful knot on my brow bone, followed by a stomach ache, then sinus trouble. It was also rainy and overcast, which didn’t help my mood. I found it hard to muster the motivation and energy to do much of anything. I questioned whether or not my current writing project would be worthwhile, or if I should scrape it and give up altogether. I knew I was justified in being in a temporary slump, but I didn’t like it. It made me more prone to negative thoughts, which only leads to more of the same. The sun finally came out and my physical discomforts eased up, but I’m left with the uneasy realization that I need to get a better grip on my thoughts when ailments and elements converge like that again.
Last night I pulled out my Tarot cards for guidance in armoring myself against future scenarios where I might be more susceptible to slipping into a funk because it goes against the grain of my typically cheerful disposition, and I don’t like being the subject of anything or anyone, let alone my own emotions. I use Tarot cards as personal Rorschach cards, but I leave the door open to any benevolent force, including my ‘higher’ self, that might toss a poor soul a bone of wisdom. There are times when I actually laugh aloud at the uncanny precision and relevance of a particular card or spread. I’ll write more on my particular approach to Tarot in a future post.
I wrote down my query and focused on it while I shuffled the cards. I also asked my inner self to feel free to make an appearance, and you’d be right to question my lucidity if you heard me laugh at the response I got (from myself…yep.).
“Hi, ‘True Self,’ it’s me—You. Just putting it out there, but it would be great if you could help me out with this spread.”
“What? Oh! Hello there. Well, I suppose…kidding, kidding. Yes! Me here, at your service!”
Two themes kept showing up in the spread and when combined they made perfect sense. A third theme wove it all together. The first was to rethink the battles I was choosing. Those were my negative thoughts. The second was about personal convictions and the importance of acting on them despite internal and external setbacks. The third theme kept reminding me not to forget I’m merely a conduit for a higher force to express itself in this world. I know I dug out the answers from my subconscious by seeking a meaning in each card that was relevant to my questions, but I do believe there is a part of us that overlaps the known and the unknown, and it’s always ready to assist our search. We need only to ask and be receptive.
The lesson I took from the late-night reading was the need to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Negativity feeds off of negativity until it becomes harder to come up with a positive thought than a negative thought. A hell of a lot harder.
Morning drives to drop the kiddo at school are a test. Dealing with the morning drivers who wield their SUVs like chariots, barreling down the road, cutting off others and leaving anyone who dares to go the speed limit in the wake of their exhaust. Rushed and tired, they ignore stop signs and run red lights all to get to their destination on time. The parents in the carpool line became so ruthless, the school had to hire traffic cops. I avoid it by dropping our son off across the street. The exercise is good for him and I save a bit of sanity.
Heading back home, I’m mentally cursing them all for being unnecessary assholes, when I see a very old man on a leisurely morning walk, and wondered what he would think if he could hear my thoughts. He would probably advice me to stop letting the little things get under my skin because they are a waste of valuable time and energy. I remembered my spread from the night before and gently chided myself for forgetting its lesson so soon.
So I tried to summon some positive thoughts, and I was laughing to myself about how it’s much easier to find something to bitch about when the next moment provided an excellently timed lesson. The light ahead was green, and I was slowing to make a left when I saw a man on the corner holding a sign. I had my window down and saw the word “Hungry” as I drove past. He was smiling and seemed quite young to be on a corner in Houston, but he waved at me as I drove past. I waved back and smiled. His smile grew and as I rounded the turn, he called out, “You’re beautiful!” I laughed and thanked him while giving him a little salute with my free hand. This all took about three seconds, but the timing couldn’t have been more opportune.
It wasn’t the compliment that was rewarding, but the exchange itself. It could have been a simple, “Have a great day!” My sincere, positive acknowledgement of his sincere smile and remark made him smile. Seeing someone so down on their luck they’re begging on the corner while still emitting contagious joy was very powerful at that moment. When I start to feel a shadow slip over my thoughts, I strive to open my mind so the light shines through again.
The above was written back on 11/12/2015. I’m just now getting back to wrap it up, but this piece has been on my mind since saving the first draft. I knew I wasn’t living up to my own expectations, but when tempted to grumble or worry, I’ve strived to dash those thoughts before they became feelings and focus on my blessings instead. Each sincere attempt at a conscious effort to dispel negative thinking has been a success, because it’s hard to fool yourself once you’ve hashed everything out in writing, if not impossible.
I know I am incredibly fortunate despite my personal woes. I am incredibly grateful for the health of my loved ones, for my role in their lives, to love and be loved by the sweetest family and friends. I am grateful for hot baths, a flushing toilet, clean water straight from the tap— these basic facilities that are unattainable luxuries to so many others around the world. I find myself stopping dead in the tracks of my darkest thoughts and praying apologetically: ‘Dear God, I know how fortunate I am. Please ignore this self-pitying ego’s petty complaints, and listen to my heart instead.’
Just now, while sitting out back on a cold November Sunday, far too overcast to reveal any trace of blue, the cloud-bound sky suddenly grew brighter for a moment. If I took this as a well-timed lesson, I might think it was a reminder that much like the constant presence of the sun behind the clouds in the sky, a smile waits behind the shadows inside us, each always ready to shine.